20 August, 2010

Judge Not...

In the past week, this topic has come up on Facebook a couple of times and become rather heated as people try to use the "Judge not lest you be judged" passage to defend their argument for inappropriate behavior. I'm sure it has always been so, but it seems to me in the last 10 years the use of this scripture has been twisted and abused more and more, as people seek to turn the tables on anyone who 
confronts sinful behavior. 


So, the question is, "What does the Bible mean? Is it saying that we are not to judge others?"


As I said, this is an issue that has confused many people, and abused by others. On one hand, we are commanded by Jesus, in Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."  While on the other hand, the Bible also exhorts us to beware of evildoers and false prophets and to avoid those who practice all kinds of evil. Well, here's a question for you to ponder. How are we to discern who these people are if we do not make some kind of judgment about them? 
When you come up with an answer for that one, make sure and let me know.


The sad fact is that Christians are often accused of "judging" whenever they speak out against a sinful activity.  People sure love to use that passage. I'm of the mind that more sinners know that particular verse of scripture than any other Bible verse. "Judge not, lest ye be judged."  Now let me clue you in to something important: THAT is not the meaning of the scripture verses that state, "Do not judge." 


It is plainly obvious that there is a righteous kind of judgment we are supposed to exercise—with careful discernment.  John 7:24 says: "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."


Here it is in a nutshell... When Jesus told us not to judge, He was telling us not to judge hypocritically. 


Matthew 7:2-5 says to us, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." 


What Jesus was condemning here was hypocritical, self-righteous judgments of others.


In  this passage Jesus warns against judging someone else for his sin when you yourself are sinning even worse. 
THAT, my friends, is the kind of judging Jesus commanded us not to do. The truth, according to God's Word, is that if a believer sees another believer sinning, it is his Christian DUTY to lovingly and respectfully confront the person with his sin.
Matthew 18:15-17...  "If your brother sins against you,  go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 
16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 
17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


This is not judging, but rather it is pointing out the truth in a hope of bringing the other person to a place of repentance and restoration to the fellowship of believers. 
Biblically, this is spelled out for us in James 5:20  “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”


Understand, this is not to but done harshly, but rather we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). 
Neither should this be about our "opinion," but based solely from the Word of God and what it says about sin. 
Paul instructs us in 2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." 


We are to "judge" sin, but always with the goal of presenting the solution for sin and its consequences... and that solution is Jesus Christ alone.

2 comments:

Jim Martin said...

Great thoughts

Scott Simms said...

Loved this and sharing it.